It’s going to be an artful October, Nashville.
Our city is undoubtedly a pioneer of the arts. Whether you are a regular Picasso or you learned all you know about painting from Paint By Numbers and/or the majestically fro’d Bob Ross (because, as Bob says, “we don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents”), we know you’re going to get something awesome out of Artober Nashville. What is Artober Nashville, you ask? Only the coolest month-long celebration of arts and culture in the world brought to you by The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission. Artists from all walks of life and various mediums (visual, performance, etc.) are coming together to deliver some expertly curated events, held in conjunction with National Arts & Humanities Month. So what makes Nashville’s art scene the best?missing or outdated ad config
To get the inside scoop, we chatted with Beth Inglish, Nashville lady and artist extraordinaire! From her work with Mending Hearts on a community mural to her songwriting to her latest art exhibit “Release”, Beth is an integral part of the Nashville arts community. We sat down and talked Nashville, Artober Nashville, selflessness, and barbecue nachos. Here we go!
We know that Artober Nashville is a celebration of arts and culture in Nashville. What is going to be different this time around?
I think because this is the fourth year, it’s more on people’s radar. I’m sure you can tell on Wannado that there are more events for the whole month, and it just keeps growing. There’s more happening this year since more people know about it and are getting involved.
One of the things we love about Artober Nashville is the pop-up event, where an art show might happen at an old warehouse or a music label (like the Infinity Cat event this past weekend). How have you seen the arts community in Nashville collaborate with others throughout the city?
I’ve partnered with the Entrepreneur Center to do pop-ups, so it’s great to see the business community taking an interest in what’s happening in the arts, like the mural that was painted on 12th & Porter’s wall. We’re really starting to integrate with the business world, since the creative scene in Nashville has such a spotlight right now. The arts and fashion communities are in the same boat – really trying to develop ways that we can have pull in the business community.
Absolutely! You’re involved in so many creative industries; heading up Nashville Creative Group, your own personal art, songwriting, and your involvement at the EC. What makes this city the right fit for someone with lots of varied strengths and interests? How does it differ from other cities?
What’s so great about Nashville is that we are a collaborative community. Because everybody knows everybody here, it makes it really easy to work across industries. That small town feel makes it simple, and people are so open to working together. We trust one another. You just don’t see that a lot in other cities. We truly want what is best for Nashville and for each other. I think it’s amazing. People who come from out of town that I meet with are amazed by how friendly everyone is and how open we are, because it’s definitely not what they’re used to.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen since you’ve been in Nashville?
The development, for sure. There’s always something new being built. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I think it depends on the individual; if they are keeping the historic parts in tact, while just working around whatever it is you need to have a business in a unique location. For instance, the Trolley Barns. It’s a beautiful renovation that has kept the buildings in tact. That’s what I love to see: people who are using spaces without taking away from them. If they keep tearing down buildings, it takes away from Nashville’s history. I’d also love to see more public art incorporated into these projects. That would really scream creative, Nashville art.
There are so many complexes going up in The Gulch and Midtown. Have you seen any potential collaborations among the people you’ve encountered in the creative groups and developer groups, or are they still pretty distinct?
I feel like the conversation isn’t strong enough. Not all developers are thinking about that. Some developers have incorporated public art features, like the mural at Center 615. There are murals in Hillsboro Village and 12 South. I feel like we’re going to see more of that happening, which I love. Artists are hungry to put their stamp on the city in a very public and beautiful way. Art isn’t just walking into a gallery and looking at something on a wall. It can be everywhere.
What Artober Nashville event are you most excited for?
The end of the month celebration is going to be really great! It will be out at Oz. I know my Artober Nashville project I’m looking forward to! I’m working with Metro Schools and doing an exhibit in schools, working with students to create their own artwork based on their process. I’m excited to see what they come up with!
Nice! Who are some of your favorite local artists in Nashville?
Oh my gosh, you’re going to make me pick favorites! I get this question a lot. It’s hard to say because every artist evolves. For example, Michael Grine is a local artist who had a show last spring and then another one this past weekend at The Arcade; it was totally different work. I really like seeing artists who can do that, pushing themselves to exhibit work that is evolving as much as they are. I’m not one to show the same things; I push myself outside the box. If we are storytellers, we need to be open and vulnerable in order to tell a story that’s going to connect with the community. If we’re not doing that and pushing the limits, I don’t feel like we’re doing our job. I think Michael does it, and I think Amanda Bennett is another artist who does it. She’s killing it, traveling the country and selling artwork.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a part of the art scene here?
Join the Nashville Creative Group on Facebook and come to meetings. We meet once a month, every second Monday at Emma’s Bistro. It’s a great place to meet other artists and get connected face to face. Nashville is a city where people don’t just work with business relationships; we’re friends, colleagues, and we go beyond Facebook interaction – we’re having coffee. For those who are new to the city, if you make it all about you it’s very obvious. This isn’t a place for selfishness. In other cities, you have to be that way to show how you can survive. That’s not how we do it; we survive by holding hands.
Well put! Here are some fun, quick questions: favorite Nashville memory?
I really had fun with two of my friends from the Nashville Creative Group when we did a pop-up installation for Nashville Fashion Week. Not only were we doing public art, but we were doing it together. I like to help people. That’s where my heart is.
Favorite meal in Nashville?
Edley’s BBQ! I love those barbecue nachos.
SO good. What’s your favorite arts venue?
I would definitely say Cheekwood, because they incorporate public art. They have art installations on the grounds and a gallery in the mansion. I love that they are a space that can incorporate art out in the world that isn’t necessarily on the walls; people can experience it in a different way.
Favorite thing to do in Nashville in the fall?
I love being outside, so hiking, camping, and being outdoors! I play disc golf, and there are a lot of great places for that. I love hiking at Radnor, just watching the leaves change. Cheekwood does a great harvest festival!
If you could put together a dream Nashville pop-up event, who would cater, who would perform, and what would be exhibited?
Cumberland Park is a new park on the other side of the river, but you can get to it from the Pedestrian Bridge. It would be cool to have an outdoor park setting, so maybe something there with public art/sculpture installations could be incorporated with the nature. For catering, something featuring local restaurants – maybe Pop’s newest restaurants, so people could sample a lot of new places.
Favorite neighborhood in Nashville?
When I lived in Green Hills, it was 12 South. Now that I’m in Joelton, I spend more time in East Nashville than I ever have before. I love Barista Parlor, Marche, Silly Goose. I also like how the Chamber is branding the neighborhood. They’ve done a design contest and chosen a new logo, which will help bring the community together with one clear vision.
What’s something about Nashville that tourists should know?
It’s more than just country music! There’s more to us than Broadway. They should get out and explore. Go to Wannado and find out where to go!
You heard her, y’all. Check out Wannado for all your Nashville adventures (especially Artober Nashville). Thanks to Beth, we’re feeling super inspired to get out there and spread the Nashville love and creativity. Remember; if you’re out there this week just trying to survive, you’re not in it alone; we survive by holding hands. Grab the hand of a fellow Nashvillian (and then take them to an awesome Artober event)! We’ll see you out there.